malform

by chik white

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1.
03:38
2.
01:35
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07:14
4.
01:41
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01:06
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03:24
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8.
04:45

about

A voice washes across the falling cliffs, rocky shores, grassy fields, over the entire village and beyond. It calls from deep below the ocean and has grown shrill and harsh with time. This gnawing vibration turns in my gut at every moment -- and in every moment I am sickened. So most days I just walk to here, to under these cliffs, and stand, harp sack wrapped around my wrist. And I play to the water. With each pull, perception clears away -- absorbs back into all that has come and will ever be. Blasts of white and blue light erase my vision as tears freeze to my face. I swallow all that surrounds me into a ball of sound and shape it with minute movements in my throat and tongue. This skull of mine: a resonating chamber. Air rushes through. Lungs soon suck closed -- by just this metal spring between my front teeth. There’s blood on my lips. And I am buzzed. How long has it been? A minute? An eon? The ocean’s voice and my piercing song, calling and being called in one tone, hearing and being heard in a single ear.

~~

Jaw harp and voice recorded live using various throat mic techniques and instrument preparations

All songs Darcy Spidle
Mastered by Kyle McDonald
West Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia
June 2016


REVIEWS

"Armed with nothing but a jaw harp, his voice, and some odd mic techniques, the music of Chik White (aka Darcy Spidle) feels like a something of a missing link between two seemingly unrelated traditions. On paper, a jaw harpist who often records outdoors in his seaside homeland in West Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia, should perhaps end up similar to the spiritual solo voice albums of Richard Youngs or Keiji Haino, or perhaps even the Arctic Cirlce Joik practice of Ánde Somby or Laura Cannell’s hypnotic recorder playing. In practice however (particularly as Malform focuses on utilising some very up-close-and-personal "throat mic techniques") the results are at times closer to freeform nutjob explorations by raw noise artists like Justice Yeldham or Masonna.

Opener ‘self’ is a building moment of intense gentle jaw harp plucking, reimagined into this quivering, doomy, epic sound. It’s presumably all a tad funny by comparison when seen in the flesh - a bloke twanging a jaw harp at a lethargic pace, occasionally spewing wordless gibberish from his mouth at the same time too - but the results are strangely powerful. The scraping of the mic against Spidle’s own flesh highlights the most striking aspect of the instrument as something of ancient bionic body augmentation. The two longer tracks on the tape have Spidle twanging away wonky rhythms on his jaw harp while the man simultaneously coughs and splutters, tipping the close miked sound more often than not right into distortion. The 67 second ‘ex.1’ is a notably chilling moment on the tape, with Spidle chanting slowly like the voice of Pazuzu in The Exorcist while his jaw harp tingles away like a wind chime. Closing track ‘seep’ too seems imbued with a sense of dread, and the distorted crashing of waves lap into the recording with the same off kilter irregular rhythms as Chik White’s jaw harp. A thoroughly unique and brilliant experiment with the instrument that proves less is more." Spool's Out - The Quietus, October 2016

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released November 5, 2016

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about

chik white West Chezzetcook, Nova Scotia

For over a decade, Nova Scotia artist Darcy Spidle has used the moniker chik white for various art projects. His latest efforts centre around the jaw harp, a pancultural, ancient instrument steeped in mystical allure. Inspired by sound poetry,
noise, improvisation, Dada, mediation and nature, chik white's harp explorations aim to conjure visceral experiences through aural minimalism.
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